BetonSports ready to plead guilty

Reports are circulating that the troubled online gambling firm BetonSports, is ready to plead guilty to a range of racketeering and wire fraud charges against the company in a plea agreement with the US Department of Justice.

Acting on advice from the company’s American lawyers, Clive Parritt, the chairman, has reportedly said a settlement would prevent any as yet un-indicted cases being brought against the board of directors, which includes Lord Glentoran, the Tory shadow minister for Northern Ireland.

BetonSports was one of several online gambling companies plunged into crisis when it was forced to suspend all operations in the lucrative US market after America introduced a controversial ban on offshore internet gambling.  But the US argues that prohibitions predating the October law apply.

Several British executives have been arrested, including BetonSports chief executive David Carruthers who has been under house arrest in Missouri since last summer pending charges of running an illegal gambling enterprise.  His arrest came about whilst he was changing planes in the US during a trip to Costa Rica.  Then in March the US authorities arrested BetonSports founder and long-term fugitive Gary Kaplan in the Dominican Republic.

It is claimed that the rest of the management team, which sacked Carruthers following his arrest, has been in delicate negotiations with the US authorities ever since.  Although a final settlement document is yet to be received from the DoJ, it is said that Parritt appears ready to sign.  Creditors and shareholders will be updated at a meeting on May 16 which will also see BetonSports plc go into liquidation.

One report claims Parritt said: “We are close to an agreement with the DoJ under which the case against BetonSports will be closed.  We will agree the company has been associated with being part of an ‘illegal gambling enterprise’ between 1992 and 2006 but essentially we are being penalised for buying the company from Kaplan.”

He added “US customers are still owed money by the main subsidiary, BetonSports Antigua, which is also being wound down.  This deal will allow the liquidators to deal fairly with the creditors of BetonSports plc.  Without such an agreement the liquidators would have to manage the continuing case in the US.”

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